BRANDON, SD—As more details emerged of Friday's horrible but relatively commonplace manifestation of human nature in Brandon, SD, citizens nationwide somehow managed to enter a state of shock, apparently struggling to comprehend an act that, throughout history, has happened thousands upon thousands of times.
In the wake of the tragedy, Americans have expressed a deep sense of bewilderment, though it is unclear why, given that events just like the one Friday have taken place frequently throughout their lifetimes.
"I still can't believe what happened," said 48-year-old Linda Durland of Atlanta, who for some reason has been unable to extrapolate from literally millions of previous examples the fact that such acts inevitably repeat themselves. "It's just unthinkable."
Despite there being nothing unusual about the incident in Brandon, the media has descended upon the small town in droves, somehow finding a way to portray the event as if it were a novel phenomenon or some sort of aberration within human society, an assertion that even a cursory glimpse at the species' violent past would immediately disprove.
"You never expect something like this to happen," said 29-year-old Brandon resident Janine Ackerman, though she would be justified in expecting something like this to happen, and then happen again and again and again, and so on, ad infinitum. "It just came out of nowhere."
At hundreds of vigils held throughout the country Saturday night, Americans came together to mourn the victims of the incident. According to reports, many collectively vowed to ensure that an episode like this never happens again, a pledge that people must rationally have no intention of keeping, as it would entail the impossible task of forever altering basic human nature.
In Brandon, the mood reportedly remained one of stunned disbelief this weekend, as residents grappled with how their community had become the scene of such tragedy, all of them presumably under the impression that their town is something other than a collection of human beings, which is all that appears to be required for such an act to occur.
"This is the last place you'd expect something like this to happen," said local grocery store owner Howard Conyers, 54, seeming to repress all knowledge that close-knit communities such as Brandon, being inhabited by people, are among the types of places where these incidents have always happened.
Added Conyers: "It just makes no sense. Brandon is such a close-knit community."
As investigators have pieced together the exact sequence of extremely familiar events, news outlets and citizens alike have been quick to categorize the act as "inhuman," though in reality the behavior is universal to all human cultures and civilizations.
"I can't imagine what goes on in the mind of that kind of person," 31-year-old Linda Starks of Natchez, MS said. "Who could possibly do something like this?"
According to law enforcement statistics, 15,000 Americans do something like this each year, and nearly all people will at least briefly think about doing it at some point during their lives.
As the initial wave of grief began to subside Sunday, many throughout the country started openly questioning why this incident happened, putting forth a host of explanations that ranged from lack of government regulation to negligent parenting to declining church attendance, but never once mentioning that it likely would have occurred anyway.
"If it's possible for something positive to come out of this terrible turn of events, perhaps it will make people stop for a moment and realize how short and precious life is," said Daniel Romero, 45, of El Paso, TX, who, until this event, seemed to have somehow ignored the most omnipresent characteristic of his species: its mortality. "You have to recognize that each day you have is a gift and always remember to cherish your loved ones."
At press time, Romero remained unaware that he, like everyone else in America, will completely forget the incident within a week and then abandon his own sensible advice.